Freshers’ Reps

These are the people who have organised the events for Induction Week and will be around throughout to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact any of them before coming to Durham as they are all more than happy to help.


Introduction from your Senior Freshers’ Rep, Ruth Kaufmann Wolfe


Hello everyone! My name is Ruth. I’m a third year Geographer (please don’t ask me if all we do is colour in!) and I am your Senior Freshers’ Representative.

Firstly, a huge congratulations to all of you. All of you have done amazingly well for getting into to Durham and another big congrats for getting into Mary’s!! Mary’s is known across Durham for its beautiful aesthetics (especially in the snow), its great location, but most importantly its reputation as Durham’s friendliest college.

The reason Mary’s is so friendly is our unbeatable sense of community. Over my past two years, the people at Mary’s have encouraged me to call it my second home. When you arrive in Induction Period you will be greeted by an amazing team of Marians, who are called Freps (Freshers’ Representatives). With my help, Ellie (your JCR president), Suhasini (your International Students’ Representative), and the Freps have organised a jam-packed timetable for Induction Period fitted around your academic talks and any admin you need to take care of in moving here; expect an array of activities including picnics, in college events, murder mysteries, nights out in Durham and Newcastle, grub crawls, pub crawls, sports sessions and much, much more.

While­—I hope!—you are counting down the days to becoming part of the Mary’s family, I know, from my own experience two years ago, that it can be extremely daunting to start university. Whatever you’re feeling right now, whether it’s nerves or excitement, it’s okay! University is a completely different experience to school and moving away from home can be scary. However, the brilliant thing about Mary’s and Durham is that, no matter what your interests are, there is a society, group, or community for you.

So, my big tip to you all is to throw yourself in.

My journey at Mary’s and Durham initially started with me being extremely nervous, but I decided to get involved in a real mix of things. In Mary’s, I sat on the JCR Exec as the Head Welfare Officer 2017/2018, I have spent hours making Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed decorations for our Tim Burton themed Masquerade Ball, and, despite not being a sporting star, I have been a loyal member of the netball club. Across University, I have worked on overarching Welfare Committees, in a fabulous group called Empower Her Voice, and volunteered as a tutor. Everything I have been involved in has given me a wealth of experience, good friends, and has been a huge amount of fun.

In short, it is absolutely fine to be nervous. Whatever you are feeling, others are too. But remember – there is a world of opportunity for you here at Mary’s and at Durham to get stuck into.

Feel free to email me at ruth.s.kaufmann-wolfe@durham.ac.uk. There is no question that is too small or big – whether you want to know about the challenges at university, or where you can find the best cake in Durham!

I can’t wait to welcome you, alongside the amazing Frep team, into your new home this September.

Ruth Kaufmann Wolfe

Senior Freshers’ Representative 2018/19


Introduction from your Senior International Students’ Rep


Hey everyone!

My name is Suhasini and I’m a second-year Economics and Politics student. I’m really excited about being your International Students’ Rep this year. I want to begin by congratulating you all for making it to Durham! You’re truly in for such an amazing university experience. But I know that in the midst of all the excitement and the ‘thank you’s’ to the congratulatory emails and messages you’ll be receiving, you may also be feeling that slight tinge of nervousness. I’d lived in New Delhi, India all my life so moving to Durham for university was a big change for me. But I can happily say that while it has been a big change, it’s also been a great change. And an important reason for that has been Mary’s.

You’ve probably heard by now that Mary’s is known for being the friendliest college. It won’t be long before you realise that the college truly lives up to its reputation. From being just a set of pretty buildings located super close to the Science Site, Mary’s quickly became my second home. The friendly and non-judgemental atmosphere at college helped me really throw myself into the whole university experience. In my first year, I got involved in activities ranging from organising the debating chambers at the Durham Union to learning pole dancing and Latin dancing. I’m the Editor for the Business and Economics section of the Bubble (Durham’s online magazine) and the Co-Chief Editor of the Durham University Economics Journal. I’m also a proud recipient of the Laidlaw Scholarship for Research and Leadership and a tutor for MyTutor. Before university, I’d never been very involved in theatre, but at college I was able to help in the production of ‘A Comedy of Errors’ and I loved it.

But the experience at Mary’s and at Durham is so much more than the list of activities we get involved in. It’s watching the sun rise over Observatory Hill after dancing all night at the Midsummer Ball; it’s running back between classes in December to have a snowball fight; it’s spending days in May picnicking under the cherry blossoms; it’s eating and chatting in the kitchen after a night out; it’s singing your heart out to Angels (the Mary’s song) at the end of every event… It’s moments like these that have made me love Mary’s and Durham. It’s our goal as your Freps to help you settle in and fall in love with Mary’s just like we did. We’ve got an exciting series of events lined up for you that will keep you busy and entertained.

That being said, it’s important to remember that as exciting as Freshers’ Week and University are, it’s completely okay to feel homesick or overwhelmed at times. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in needing to make every moment amazing or perfect (like everyone else seems to), that you don’t want to admit that there might be something on your mind. It’s completely natural to enjoy yourself but to also have fears or reservations about starting university. So, my big tip would be to not hesitate to talk to someone about it. We’ve all been there and will be more than happy to listen.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at suhasini.vira@durham.ac.uk.

Can’t wait to see you in September!

P.S. If you’ve not read the International Students’ Welcome Letter, please do so – there’s quite a lot of important information there about induction procedures for International students!

Suhasini Vira

Senior International Students’ Rep 2018/19


Freshers’ Reps (‘Freps’)


Michaela Abbs, Law, 2nd Year

Hi everyone, I’m Michaela and I’m a second year law student. Let me start by saying a huge welcome to Mary’s and a massive congratulations on getting into Durham! Your move to Durham and into college life, for some of you, I can imagine will be daunting, but don’t worry, you’ve got a fantastic Induction Week ahead of you and an awesome team of Freps ready and eager to help you out. For example, though I’m originally from Kent I have spent the last 5 years living in Hong Kong and doing various stints in a few other places so I’m here for any international and domestic students alike who may find it hard moving or settling in!

I’ll be the first to admit I was a little bit skeptical about what college life and Durham City would hold, but the best advice I can give is to dive into whatever the university and college can offer!! There really is something for everyone, and I can only encourage you to try your hand at as much as possible, you may surprise yourself at what you end up enjoying! I’ve tried Masquerade Ball Decs Committee, mixed lacrosse (not my strong suit!), the Mary’s annual Panto (an unforgettable memory) and Mary’s Dance (subtle plug, come join its great!!!).

Mary’s community feel really becomes evident in its huge college wide events and one of the many highlights of my year has been Mary’s Midsummer Ball and Mary’s Day, and yes, it’s true, Alexandra Burke did perform at Mary’s! So you have loads to look forward to throughout the year!

You’ll undoubtedly find something for you both in and out of college and the support you’ll find from friendships and college alike will be a central part of your experience! So good luck! And I look forward to meeting you all! Feel free to contact me at michaela.g.abbs@durham.ac.uk with any questions or concerns!


Ben Archer, Mathematics, 2nd Year

Hi! I’m Ben and I’m a second year Mathematics student and your Tech Officer for next year. As the tech officer on the Frep team I will be in charge of all the lighting and sound for events during Freshers! I will hopefully also get a chance to persuade you to join the tech society! (Voted the coolest society in Durham (by me)).

Over the past year I have been involved in sports like Mary’s Football, Mary’s Rounders and Durham Canoeing. I’d never actually done canoeing before Durham, so this was a thrilling new opportunity for me and I would recommend to all of you to also have a go at something new. Additionally, I have been part of a few Ball committees, Formally Lost (a charity event in which you try to make your way back to Durham, in black tie from a random drop off point) and The Revival Fashion Show; all of which I totally recommend you should get involved with!

During my first year, I had to have physio weekly for an injured knee which prevented me doing some sport and other activities in Durham. If any of you are in a similar situation feel free to talk to me and I can help sort out any support, some tips on how to easily get to the hospital, and how to cope with it.

I have to say one of my favourite things about college and college life has to be the Formals and the Balls. The Midsummer Ball during my first year was absolutely incredible, starting at 6pm and ending at 6am where there was a survivor’s photo for those who made it. The meal, the fairground rides, and watching the sunrise at 4:30am made it an amazing evening that I’m looking forward to again next year!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at benjamin.d.archer@durham.ac.uk.


Elisa Benham, Natural Sciences, 2nd Year

Hey I’m Elisa, a second year studying Natural Sciences (Bio and Econ). I’m British-Malaysian, and have grown up in the US, Switzerland and Singapore. Congratulations on becoming a Marian, I’m so looking forward to meeting all of you!!

I’m really excited for you to get to know St Mary’s and Durham. Mary’s really is full of friendly people and has such a strong community, which I’m sure you’ll discover very quickly.

Durham may be a small town, but it offers so many opportunities and you’ll find that there is a lot going on all the time. Last year, I played women’s football for Mary’s, joined the environment society and was a member of DUCK (the charities committee). Loving theatre, I was also able to get involved in shows, both in college and the university. University wide, I joined Enactus and took part in a DUCK expedition over the summer. You don’t need experience in any activity/sport to take part. For the first time last year I played hockey, tried cheerleading, and produced my first ever show. These experiences took me outside of my comfort zone, but were all incredibly fun. I couldn’t encourage you enough to consider trying something completely different. Getting involved in societies definitely gave me some of my best memories, so Durham really offers more than just a degree!

Freshers’ week will be a rollercoaster ride, but there’s always something for everyone. From active to chill games, nights out to nights in, you’ll be non-stop preoccupied. You will undoubtedly be feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, but I promise that everyone feels the same way. Try not to worry about university life, making new friends, or understanding your timetable. Uni is a massive change from school, but you will have constant support at Mary’s, from your department and us 🙂 Everything will fall into place in no time, so just take each day as it comes and get involved with anything that sparks your interest!

Email: elisa.s.benham@durham.ac.uk


Mimi Bruce, Liberal Arts, 2nd Year

Hi everyone! I’m Mimi, a second year studying Liberal Arts, specifically English Lit, Philosophy and Classics. Congratulations to all of you for achieving your grades and making it to Durham, and Welcome to St Mary’s!

You’ll find that at St Mary’s we all are very vocal about how much we love our college and I am no different! Mary’s has really become a home away from home for me and I feel so lucky to be a part of such an amazing community. The college never lets you feel alone and it’s such a special thing to know that if you’re ever feeling down, there are more than a handful of people that are eager to jump up and help. The WAM (welfare at Mary’s) society that I’m a member of, is a huge part of that.

I’m British but my parents live in Hong Kong, I finished high school in the American School of Japan, and I’ve moved several times growing up, so I was especially terrified about moving back to the UK and starting University in a completely new culture! Mary’s, however, is a hugely diverse community with people originating from all over the world and so i never felt that my experiences were different from anyone else! Through the different clubs, sports teams and societies you join you are able to make friends that come from all walks of life and this is one of the best things about being in a collegiate environment.

It seems crazy to me that I’m already a second year, being a fresher flew by so quickly and I’m sure you will find the same to be true! My biggest bit of advice is truly to throw yourself into as many societies as possible. Over-sign up for things at the Freshers fair and try anything that takes your fancy! I got involved in things that I’d never done before like Purple Radio, Gospel Choir and college rowing but they have turned into some of the activities that I have enjoyed the most! I went for positions of responsibility in my first year, being the Head of the Music Blog for Durham Purple Radio and an Events Manager for DUCK at Mary’s. These turned out to be wonderful experiences for me to grow as a leader in my first year and I highly recommend all of you try to do the same. Never feel intimidated to try something that’s new, especially at Mary’s because we, as a college, always try to encourage participation!

My second big piece of advice is love your college, get involved in Mary’s societies, make friends with your corridor and college family but make sure you spread your wings! Try different uni-wide societies and introduce yourself to your course mates because Durham is a huge community in itself and if you stick to just socializing within your college you won’t taste the amazing other opportunities the university has to offer!

I can’t wait to meet you all in September and if you have any questions about anything at all, you can drop me a message: amelia.e.bruce@durham.ac.uk, I’d love to hear from you!


Joe Castledine, Philosophy, 2nd Year

Hey Everyone, I’m Joe, a second year Philosophy student at Mary’s. First, a huge congratulations on getting into Durham; we cannot wait to welcome you to Mary’s. You are about to become a part of one of the most welcoming and stunning colleges in Durham.

I had the best time in my first year and it will be awesome to watch and help you guys settle in and create your own experiences with Mary’s being a crucial and special part of this process. In first year, I was involved in Mary’s Darts (categorically the pride of Mary’s), Squash, Table Tennis, made a few cameo appearances for Mary’s C team Football, along with as many appearances to different sports socials as I could fit in. All this has led me to becoming club president for Squash next year and joint club president for Darts. But trust me, if sport is not your thing, you’ll never go short of other opportunities.

My two favourite memories from last year would have to be the Masquerade Ball in second term, which was an amazing event to go to, along with the college sports varsity against York University. All in all, it is natural that you will be nervous about coming for induction week, but honestly, having done it, and being part of the planning of it this year, you have nothing to be concerned about. My one piece of advice would be to get involved in as much as you can alongside your studies in first year. This is a great way of meeting other people with similar interests, and diversifies your relationships, away from those simply living close to you.

Any questions feel free to contact me via email at joseph.s.castledine@durham.ac.uk.


Chris Christou, Computer Science, 2nd Year

Hello everyone, my name is Chris (I am a greek boi) and I am a second year Computer Science student. However, this is actually my 3rd year in Durham as I also did a foundation year here.

During my time in Durham and Mary’s I’ve been involved in many things, which have really made my time here great! Last year I was lucky enough to be JCR Vice President, helping around College and seeing its inner workings. I am also involved in sports clubs like Badminton and Table Tennis. Outside of sports, I was a Foundation Mentor, in which I helped new students settle in and also a Course Rep, which is a student position that handles communications between students and their departments. This year I am helping in organising a big Computer Science event called DurHack.

My favourite moment from Durham so far has been when the new delivery driver from my favourite pizza place (Paddy’s Pizza) asked me if I was the one who has ordered the same thing 75 times that year (please don’t judge me).

If I could give you one piece of advice it would be: don’t try to force yourself into liking things too much. Just be yourself and try to be involved in things that you want to try or already like and you will find yourself having the best time of your life!

If you have any questions or just want to chat feel free to hit me up on my official Durham email: christos.christou-mavropoulos@durham.ac.uk or just find me on Facebook (Chris Christou).


Naomi Clarke, English Literature, 2nd Year

Hello everyone! I’m Naomi, a Northern Irish second year studying English Literature. First and foremost, a massive congratulations on getting into Durham and welcome to Mary’s!

My time at Durham has been an absolute whirlwind so far and I’ve loved every minute, and I hope you will have equally as great a time. One of the major contributors to my time has been the lovely family-like community that St Mary’s brings which greatly helped me settle in, especially as I am one of the only people from my entire country at the college. Mary’s attracts such a diverse range of people from around the globe and through college sports teams, societies and events it really helps you to intermingle through the whole college to make such a wide spectrum of friends, which has definitely been my highlight this year!

The welfare support in Mary’s is also such a special part of the college community. WAM (Welfare at Mary’s) provides support for the students and provides a platform for campaigns to raise awareness of important topics and I am incredibly excited to be your assistant Welfare officer next year! (Read more about this in ‘WAM’ section of the handbook).

I have been quite involved with the arts side of Mary’s having sat on ball committees, performed in our drama productions, and been a part of Mary’s dance team; next year I will be your secretary and publicity officer of these two societies! I’m also involved with journalism outside of college as Head of News for Purple Radio and a writer for Palatinate newspaper.

My advice is that it can be intimidating in the beginning starting at a new university, possibly in a new city, but try to introduce yourself to as many people as possible, you never know who you might meet! (Oh and also, pace yourself and don’t take a nap during the balls or Mary’s Day as they are amazing and you will kick yourself for doing it for the rest of the year!)

If you have any queries about anything at all, you can drop me a message: naomi.a.clarke@durham.ac.uk. Excited to meet you all in September!


Serena Conn, Physics, 2nd Year

Hi Freshers! Firstly congrats – you’ve made it here, so well done for aceing those exams! My name is Serena and I’m a Second Year studying Physics. I was born in Ohio, USA, but have lived around London (big up Bucks) for most of my life.

In my first year, I loved getting involved in all the college has to offer. I have danced with Mary’s Dance, played in the best Netball C Team on campus, helped organise the famous Mary’s Day, and am a member of the newly founded Mary’s Women Darts Team. I’ve also competed for Durham in the University Dance Competition Team and am Captain for next year. So, I’m happy to help with any queries about societies, especially dance, both at college and university level.

There are just too many memories from my first year for me to pick one, however I have absolutely loved performing at countless events across the whole university such as college days, college balls, fashion shows, competitions, the Durham Instep Dance Show and many more. I’ve even performed in the famous Durham Castle and Cathedral, which were both surreal moments that I will cherish forever.

From experience, my advice to you funky fresh freshers is simply to GET STUCK IN! Find societies or sports teams that interest you, try something completely new, go to socials and events, sit with different people in the dining room, keep your door propped open and invite people in … whatever it is, just get involved, meet people, and enjoy every millisecond of your time here because trust me, it goes so fast! Make your time at University your own, and don’t be afraid to join in.

So enjoy your Induction Week! I can honestly say I’ve never felt more comfortable settling into a new place just because everyone, especially at Mary’s, is so lovely and welcoming. That for me has been the most special part of Durham, and so I hope us Freps can not only give you a fab Induction week, but also help you feel settled and happy here.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to a Frep or member of staff. I’ll be around college tons in Freshers week and throughout the year, but anything you need before, during or after Freshers Week, ping me an email at serena.f.conn@durham.ac.uk. Can’t wait to meet you all!


Alex Connolly, Engineering, 4th Year

Hi everyone! I’m Alex, a fourth year engineer from Edinburgh. Firstly, congrats! You are all in such a lucky and privileged position- what I would give to be in your shoes again… (Not least for the lack of important exams!) Although it may all seem quite daunting now, I can assure you that once you are here you’ll discover that University life, and in particular life at Mary’s, is a unique experience which is full of opportunities and lasting friendships. The staff, exec, and all students really do care about the college and its people as I’m sure you will see throughout the week. Whilst at Mary’s I have played college squash and rugby, which I am now club captain for this year (so any questions, please drop me a message!). I’ve also previously frepped, have gone on the ski trip every year and have embarrassed myself in charity fashion shows two too many times…

I’m too indecisive to pick just one favourite thing from my time at university so I’m going to have to give you a couple. The college rugby team has been a massive part of my time at Mary’s with so many great memories (even if I’ve had more injuries than tries) and the ski trips each year have always delivered as some of the best weeks of my life. Honourable mentions include marathon table tennis tournaments as procrastination during exam time in first year and morning debriefs in a friend’s room after a good night out.

I’m going to leave you with arguably the most important piece of advice for your whole year: make the most of mealtimes in college. Now this has two meanings: firstly, there is so much food made available to you that you might as well have your fill (I put on a stone in first term…). Secondly, mealtimes are really sociable-you’ll meet lots of new people from all over college every time you go to the dining hall those first few weeks and after that you’ll spend hours and hours just sitting, chatting, and cementing friendships.

I’m looking forward to meeting you all soon, in the meantime make the most of your summer holidays whatever you may be doing. If you have any questions about anything then do just ask (via email alexander.m.connolly@durham.ac.uk or on Facebook) and I’ll do my best to answer or direct you to someone who knows the answer!


Charlotte Delaforce, English Literature, 3rd Year

Hey hey!! I’m Charlotte, I’m from London and I’m a third year English student at Mary’s and this is my second year frepping. I hope you have all had an amazing summer and are looking forward to coming to Durham.

Since being at Mary’s, I have been pretty involved in college life. Over the last two years I have been part of Mary’s Hockey and Netball, was the co-social secretary of Mixed Lacrosse ‘17/18, as well as a member of the Communities Committee ‘16/17 (organising volunteering opportunities for college), WAM (Welfare at Mary’s) committee ‘17/18 and various ball committees. This year I will also be co-Social Chair (responsible for organising all formals and balls throughout the year). Outside of college, I have volunteered with the Durham SCA on the Thurston Drama Project, was Project Leader all of last year, and will continue to run it next year. So if any of that sounds like something you would be interested in please hit me up!

My best memory in college from last year was the President’s Guest Night formal, a night in which the JCR President gives out awards for the individuals who have contributed to college life. I obviously love all formals but this one was really special and that was the night I decided to apply to be a Frep again!

My one piece of advice is to not be afraid to step into roles of responsibility in college. It’s one thing to get really involved in loads of societies, but I have found it really rewarding to challenge myself and go for exec roles. It has been really tough at times but I think this has been what has made college life really worth it for me.

If you have any qs my email is charlotte.delaforce@durham.ac.uk don’t hesitate to contact me xx


Lauren Eglin, Spanish and Italian, 2nd Year

Hi everyone, I’m Lauren, a second year student studying Spanish and Italian, and I can’t wait to welcome you all to Mary’s!

My first year was hands down the best year of my life – I met the most incredible people and basically never stopped smiling! I know that the prospect of leaving home for university can be extremely daunting, but I promise you that Mary’s will be your home away from home, and if you don’t end up feeling this way, the phenomenal support provided in college will hopefully help you to change your mind. What I love most about Mary’s is our incredibly inclusive community that means there is always a friendly face – you can’t walk from your room to the dining hall for dinner without bumping into loads of friends, which definitely helps cheer you up if you’re having a tough day.

In college, I’ve participated in the pantomime and was a visit day rep last year, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have also loved getting involved in the immense number of activities within the wider university, especially taking part in volunteering projects with the University’s volunteer’s association SCA. For example, last year I did weekly GCSE Spanish tutoring and dog walking (the doggos always brightened up my week!) I also decided to pick up a new skill during my first year – aerial arts – and I have fallen in love with it! University is the perfect place for trying something new as there are so many opportunities, and I really encourage you to take the plunge and get involved in everything you want to.

In my first year I studied Spanish, French and Italian ab initio, so if you have any queries about studying those three languages and about the experience of learning a language from scratch at university, I’d be more than happy to answer them! I’m also going to begin learning Catalan from scratch this year, so feel free to ask me anything about that if you’re thinking of taking the option to study Catalan in your second year. Whilst I think it’s super important to stay on top of your studies in first year, don’t let your degree overwhelm you – make sure you take time away from studying to spend time with your friends/ enjoy your hobbies, and if things do get too much, talk to someone! As I’ve said, the support we receive in college is amazing and if you have any problems, no matter how small, the staff here are always happy to help.

Lastly, I would just like to say that I really hope you thoroughly enjoy Freshers! Take the time to really get to know the people on your corridor, ask the Freps any questions you may have, and make the most of everything on offer. Although, if you are feeling down or worried about anything, don’t hesitate to talk to one of the Freps, as we’ve all been through what you’re going through and we know how daunting it is – it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and we are here to help you.

As I’ve said, I can’t wait to meet you all and I really hope you fall in love with Durham and Mary’s as much as I have!

Email: lauren.eglin@durham.ac.uk


Rob Emerton, PPE, 4th Year

Hi everyone and welcome to Mary’s! I’m Rob, a fourth year studying PPE from Yorkshire.

I’ve just got back from a year studying abroad in Sweden and I’m looking forward to re-immersing myself in Mary’s alongside you guys! Mary’s is a great place; it genuinely has a really friendly atmosphere and community feel about it. There’s so much to get involved with and I recommend just getting stuck in with everything and anything, no matter how alien it may be to you. I somehow managed to become a regular member of our Football C team despite having never played a competitive match before!

I’m quite involved with the music scene here at Mary’s. The live lounges are open to everyone and are great fun-why not perform at the one in Freshers week!? There’s also my highlight of the Durham calendar: Mary’s day. This is a huge event in summer after the end of exams where there’s a big stage out on the lawn with music and bands playing all day-a nice festival vibe, and somehow always sunny! Outside of Mary’s, I also hosted my own Purple Radio show in my first year which was a lot of fun.

Feel free to chat to me about anything-year abroad (which I can’t recommend enough), music, radio, etc on Facebook or email: robert.emerton@durham.ac.uk. Get involved, keep chilled, and most importantly enjoy yourself! It will be pretty hectic at first but you’ll soon fit right in to your routine and life here.


Zach Fox, Music, 3rd Year

Hey everyone! I’m Zach, a third year from London (big up Dulwich) studying Music so come have a chat if you’re like me and you can’t HANDEL going too long without LISZT-ing your favourite composers or if you want to discuss the correct location of the North-South Divide (it’s Watford, St Albans at a push.) Anyway… Congratulations and Welcome to Mary’s! We are so excited to meet you all and we hope you are just as excited to move into your new home here in Durham.

Durham’s collegiate system is great because you can get involved with things at both College and University level, meaning you have the freedom make your own University experience completely unique and tailored to your liking. I would highly recommend getting stuck in with sports and societies in College because they will provide a nice break from your degree, but they also allow you to socialise and get to know lots of different people in College, including people in different years. I am in the Rugby team (big up SMCRFC), I have been the Head of Music at Mary’s Day for the last 2 years (literally the best day of the year, see ya later Christmas), and I am heavily involved in the University music scene.

I have absolutely loved my first two years at Mary’s so I encourage you all to find the things you love doing as soon as possible so you get maximum enjoyment from your time in Durham. We hope you enjoy your Induction Week and if you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to email me at zachary.fox@durham.ac.uk or chat to me on Facebook. See you soon!


Isobel Gostick, Chemistry, 2nd Year

Hi guys, congratulations on making it through your exams and welcome to the best college in Durham! I’m Izzy, a second year student studying chemistry with a French module.

As much as we’re all here to get a degree, getting involved with other societies is half of the fun of uni life so I would definitely recommend trying out some different societies and clubs too. I loved being a part of the college netball club last year and I will be one of the social secretaries this year so can’t wait to see some of you at both training and socials (they’ll be fun I promise). I also joined the midsummer ball committee and started a woman’s darts team with a group of other fresher girls which was so fun, and believe it or not I threw 180 in my first game… Other than that a huge highlight of last year was definitely the month following exams. It was so nice seeing the behind the scenes of midsummer ball and seeing it to completion. On top of that, Alexandra Burke performing at Mary’s Day was iconic. Use the thought of that month to help get you through exams if you’re ever finding it all a bit overwhelming, pushing through will be so worth it!

My piece of advice to you all is to take full advantage of the toastie bar while you’re still living in college, you won’t appreciate it properly until you’re not there anymore. If you have any questions or just want a chat, don’t hesitate to email me at isobelgostick@durham.ac.uk.


Niamh Hanns, History and English Literature, 2nd year

Hello everyone! I’m Niamh, and I’m a second-year joint honours History and English literature student (although I started off studying French, but that’s a long story…) Firstly, congratulations on getting into Durham – I know how hard you will all have worked and you’ve done amazingly, so welcome to the best college in this gorgeous city!

Last year I was involved with Mary’s Drama; the Christmas Panto was such a fun, easy way to get involved, and what was even better was that we performed a version of my favourite Disney film, Beauty and the Beast (Ellie painted gold as Lumiere was quite a sight to behold!) Our second term Shakespeare play was also a great way to meet students from other colleges. And while I know it can seem like EVERYONE at Durham does a lot of sport, don’t worry if you’re not a sporty person – I’ve done absolutely no sports and had a great time!

One of my favourite memories from this year (and one I hope to replicate!) is from Masquerade Ball when I found a full pack of cream crackers on the desecrated cheese table and snacked on them for the rest of the night. Lovely!

I would recommend to you guys to explore as much of Durham and the amazing North East region as you can outside of a university context. I’ve lived in the area since I was 2 and I’m still not bored of it! If you have any questions about adapting to your new status as a Northerner (or anything at all), feel free to message me or email niamh.r.hanns@durham.ac.uk.


Ben Holmes, Law, 2nd Year

Hi there Freshers! I’m Ben, a second year lawyer from Kent, and I’m really looking forward to helping you get up to speed with all life has to offer at Mary’s and Durham.

Over the last year as a fresher I’ve had many amazing opportunities to get involved in a wide variety of societies, events and activities – as you’ll soon find out, you could probably join one society a day from now until Christmas and only scratch the surface. My skills as a sportsman are extremely limited (I have less coordination than an articulated lorry) but one of the best things about Mary’s is its inclusivity and diversity – it doesn’t matter how much or how little experience you have of something, you’ll always be welcome. If you’ve got any questions about the Law Society, extra-curricular Languages or even MarioKart Soc (I can hear the sighs) let me know!

Ask any Marian about their most memorable experiences at college and you’re sure to hear about something at a college event (mine is an absolutely thrilling, slightly-less-than-sober go on a fairground ride at midsummer ball). Events are one the best parts of Mary’s life and are one of the key advantages of the collegiate system. Living in college also brings so many benefits, with loads of facilities on hand and all your friends literally on the doorstep. Eating together is a great way to make new friends quickly at the start of the year, as is the camaraderie of complaining (unnecessarily I hasten to add) about the quantity of potatoes.

Finally, a word of warning. Whilst I’d definitely recommend regularly getting out of the Durham bubble, if like me, you come from somewhere where buses are not really a thing, try to avoid making my mistake and make sure you know where you’re going, because running across the A1 because you missed the last stop is frankly embarrassing.

I hope you all have great Freshers weeks (and years!) and enjoy all that we’ve got planned for you. If there’s anything at all you’d like to ask, drop me an email at benedict.holmes@durham.ac.uk.


Yuk-Ting Hua, PPE, 2nd Year

Hi everyone! I’m Yuk-Ting (but you can call me YT) and I’m currently a second year studying PPE from Hong Kong. Welcome to merry Mary’s and hopefully you enjoy eating potatoes because we have lots of them here!!

My favourite thing about living in Mary’s is showing up to JCR meetings and most meals in flip-flops as well as being able to wake up five minutes before my 9am lectures and still make it there in time. You will have lots of fun throughout your year in college; my highlights being (stress) dyeing my hair pink in the midst of exam-season with my friends, over-staying dinner in the dining hall purely to build a large pyramid of ‘Embleton Hall’ yoghurt pots, and dancing to ‘Angels’ for the first time at the end of Glastonmarys.

I’m a member of the Mary’s basketball team, the international committee and the boat club (I paid subs so it counts!) I would highly recommend joining societies because it is a great way to meet new friends and talk to people from different courses, countries, and year groups. Don’t forget that University is what you make out of it; so get out there, take initiative, meet some new friends, and try some new things. Even so, it is always important to remember to give yourself some me-time and prioritise your well-being.

Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or email me at yuk-ting.hua@durham.ac.uk if you have any questions or if you would like me to share some interesting stories about my time in Marys!! Have a lovely summer and hopefully I will see you guys soon!!


Miles Johnson, PPE, 4th Year

Hello everyone, I’m Miles, a wise (haha), old 4th year from North London. Huge performance from you all making it into Durham (far more fun than Oxbridge, I promise), and of course, to St. Marys College. You’ll grow to realise it really is quite a groovy place.

Fresher’s week is a really good time. You’ll meet huge amounts of people, some nice, some strange, and some that you will almost certainly become lifelong friends with. Importantly, you’re all in the same boat, so don’t feel intimidated by it all!

My advice for the week is: use the fact that it says everybody’s name on their shirt to pretend you’ve remembered peoples name, it always makes a good impression! Be friendly and open, but don’t worry if you don’t meet people you really get on with straight away. You’ll meet far more people throughout the year and perceptions of people change as you get settled in. That said, Rob Emerton remains that strange, hairy, odd looking bloke that I tried to avoid from the off, so first impressions sometimes do stick. Finally, take everything you can from the Freshers fair: I signed up for student theatre, boxing, athletics and rugby league from what I remember, and still get the emails despite never having been to a single one. What I did get however, was a few pairs of free sunglasses and a sense that I was trying new things, which was nice. Going one step further than me, I’d really recommend actually taking up something new.

Equally, college societies are a great thing to sign up for. I can say that rugby, football, darts and table tennis are all well worth getting stuck into, and you can get to know all years of this sexy college. A bit further down the line, taking a year abroad is something I couldn’t recommend enough: come and talk to me about that if you are at all inclined, and even if you’re not! I spent the last year studying in Milan, and it was sick.

Saying all this, coming to uni is quite daunting, and you may not enjoy it all straight away. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy myself hugely at the start… And now here I am, a Frep! Trust the process: you may not meet your best friends straight away but you will eventually. It may not be what you expect initially, but it will almost certainly end up exceeding expectations. Ping me an email (miles.johnson@durham.ac.uk) if you want to ask about anything I’ve mentioned or if you just fancy a chat. I’m always keen for a chat.


Alex Leggatt, English Literature, 2nd Year

Hey! My name is Alex, and I’m a second year English Literature student. Congratulations for getting into Mary’s! I tried to throw myself into College life as best I could (first year doesn’t count, remember!), and then narrow down my interests after the first few weeks. I’m currently part of the Mary’s Pool A Team and the illustrious Darts C team. I work for the college bar (which I thoroughly recommend), am a deputy editor at the student newspaper Palatinate, and XC Captain of Team Durham’s Cross Country and Athletics Team. I am also on the Exec, where my role is Publicity and Communications officer, which means that if you need a college event promoted, I can help.

One of my favourite memories from this year passed was Midsummer Ball; managing to get through the evening without throwing up on the fairground rides, then watching the sun rise over the cathedral at Observatory hill and making the survivors photo.

Try to be true to yourself through Fresher’s week – people will see if you’re trying to be someone you’re not, and give everyone a fair chance when you meet them – everyone is most likely going through similar emotions… Also – don’t expect to make all your friends just in Fresher’s week, and try to visit Sunday Night Klute at least once a term!

Feel free to drop me an email at alexander.w.leggatt@durham.ac.uk or message me on Facebook with any questions you might have.


Helen Paton, Politics and History, 3rd Year

Hello everybody and a hugely warm welcome to Mary’s! My name is Helen and I am a third year here at Mary’s studying Politics and History. First of all, congratulations on getting into Durham and most importantly, Mary’s (be proud)! We cannot wait to welcome you with big arms to our great community and all the opportunities that are waiting for you!

A little bit about me. Over the past 2 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in a wide range of societies. My advice is to try as many things as you can as there is something for everyone. I sat on the JCR Exec as Senior Student’s Union Rep last year. From the Panto to frepping and open day repping to being captain of the women’s football team and giving college tours. I have a lovely collection of purple stash as you can imagine. You’ll come to love your stash… I also play basketball, tennis and rounders as well as taking part in ball committees and being on Mary’s Day exec. I’ve been working at the Toastie Bar for two years now, so if you have any questions about having a job in college, please ask away! At a university level, I’ve been very involved in student politics by representing Durham as National Union of Students delegate as well as debating at the Durham Union Society. I’m also very involved in journalism by being a columnist at Palatinate and I also have a radio show on Durham’s purple radio, so be sure to tune in!

The best part of my time in Durham has definitely been welcoming new students and showing what Mary’s is all about as well as being able to give back to college, so I can’t wait to meet you all! My favourite memory so far has to be Midsummer Ball; it was the best 12 hours of ballin’ in our beautiful college and everyone looking very smart. Dodgems are something I look forward to already. In terms of advice, coming to university can seem very daunting but remember to embrace all your past experiences and look forward to the best three years of your life. You’ll meet people from all around the place and you’ll learn so much from them. Be open to try new things, whether it’s ultimate frisbee or the humous society (yes, that exists!!!) and don’t forget your degree… We are here for you so please come up to the purple wearing people this week for a chat when you need some guidance or you have any questions.

Finally, if you have any questions about college life in general, getting involved, fun facts about Durham or student politics – I’m your gal! Please send me a message, happy to answer all those burning questions, remember that there are no silly questions! (helen.paton@durham.ac.uk)


Oliver Prove, Physics, 2nd Year

Hi everyone, and welcome to St Mary’s!! I’m Oliver, a second year physics student from Switzerland. Before coming to Durham I’d been living in Geneva my whole life and I expected it to be a really difficult transition. In actual fact, the tight knit community at Mary’s and amazing college atmosphere made it seem effortless. In my first year I joined loads of societies, went on kayaking trips, played tennis, table tennis, softball, and even ultimate frisbee. I have so many fond memories of my first year here at Mary’s and it’s almost impossible to pick my absolute favourite one. I’ve really loved all the college formals and balls, but if I had to choose I think I would have to go with the Midsummer Ball. I’m sure you’ve all heard this before – and there’s a reason you hear it so often – but my best advice for first year is to take up any opportunities that come your way, even if they seem daunting or different to anything you’ve done before (and even if you feel shy or anxious). This is how early in first term, despite disliking public speaking, I ended up giving a speech to the entire first year in college to run for Assistant JCR Treasurer. And now I’m your Treasurer for next year.

Mary’s offers something for everyone, and I’m sure you will all have an amazing first year here! If you want to ask about settling in, moving from a different country, or anything really, just email me at oliver.m.prove@durham.ac.uk.


Teresa Robbert-Arias, Liberal Arts, 2nd Year

Hi everyone! I’m Teresa, a second-year liberal artist doing Chinese, Anthropology and Business (strange combo I know). I’m half Spanish and half Danish but have lived most of my life in Belgium (also strange, I know) and honestly, Mary’s is awesome so congrats on getting into Durham and its best college!

I think it really is true that Uni is one of the best times of your life in that it lets you branch out and try so many new things! So far, I’ve joined Mary’s Basketball and Tennis Clubs, as well as its International Society, which are all amazing and are where some of my favourite memories have been created.

In any case, I think my favourite memory yet is when one cold (cold) morning in January, my friends and I decided we wanted to go and watch the sunrise on observatory hill. Long story short, we woke up VERY early and it was cloudy, so we didn’t see much sunrise, but it was honestly lovely sitting at the top of the hill, listening to music, and drinking hot chocolate with the great people I had befriended.

Though the prospect of making friends may seem daunting, if you ever need a few pointers for where to start, joining societies or doing sports like basketball (hint hint), are great because you find people with similar interests to you!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at teresa.robbert-arias@durham.ac.uk.


Euan Walker, History, 2nd Year

Hey everyone, my name is Euan and I am a second year historian from France! I’m excited to meet you all and help you through this time which I’m sure will go swimmingly well for all of you.

Beyond my degree, I have been involved in Mary’s own Foot of the Hill Theatre Company and in Durham Student Theatre as a whole. I have taken part in multiple university wide productions, both on and off-stage and have gone as far as to direct a production which went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. Although I doubt my production of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens rivalled any of Sir Ian McKellen’s work, it was an amazingly fun experience I’d recommend to everyone. I have also joined the Mary’s LGBT Association, something I couldn’t have even envisioned before coming to university at Mary’s, stemming from a small town which offered no such support system.

My favourite memory in college, aside from those long nights spent in the college library faced with the imminent threat of summative assessment, would have to be the countless hours spent in my neighbours’ rooms in college. St Mary’s College has allowed me to meet some of my closest friends, people who saw the world the same way I did, truly making the college feel like home.

I’ve had an absolutely unforgettable first year and I hope that all of you have an even better experience. University for many is a time for renovation and novelty: in the past year I have grown so much as a person by having thrown myself carefreely into ventures I would have never dared to pursue in the past. With our support, I hope that you all jump headfirst into all the opportunities Mary’s and Durham have to offer to become your most fully-accomplished selves.

Email: euan.walker@durham.ac.uk


Sam Williams, Economics, 3rd Year

Hello everyone! I’m Sam and I’m a third year studying Economics. Congratulations for getting into Mary’s! In my first year here I played football and rowed for college, and was also a social member of rugby and mixed lacrosse. Last year I rowed for the University. For this coming year, I will be your JCR Chair.

I have had so many great moments over the last two years, including the Palatinalps ski trip, being part of last year’s Frep team and all of the college balls. But up there would have to be the fashion shows, which are much less pretentious and much more fun than they sound and raise a load of money for great causes.

You will find quickly that Mary’s is rather unique as a college community which makes all college events very special. You’ll hear a lot of clichéd advice over the next couple of weeks so I’ll try and give three practical tips for life at Mary’s: go to dinner at 6.45 so you can get double portions, bring lots of posters and photos to cover up your beige walls, and finally, buy as much stash as possible even if you never actually competed for the team.

Induction Week is always hailed as the best week of your lives which, although we will try, for some people it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an amazing experience and a week you will always remember. You only get to do this week once so make the most of it, however exhausting it gets. The year only gets better and better after Induction Week so even if it’s not what you expected it to be initially don’t lose faith. All of the Freps have been in your spot and experienced the good parts and the bad, so genuinely don’t hesitate to ask us anything.

Email: samuel.t.williams@durham.ac.uk